Your verdict on 2013: The season in polls

2013 F1 season review

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From team orders to mandatory pit stops and double points: F1 Fanatic readers give their views on the stories of the year.

Are Red Bull "dominating" Formula One?

59% agreed

Before the season began Bernie Ecclestone remarked he didn’t want to see Red Bull dominate for another season.

At the time only slightly more than half of fans agreed with him that Red Bull had been dominant up to that point. But after the end of the year, which saw Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull clinch their fourth consecutive world championships, that number has probably risen.

Which team has the best-looking car of 2013?

28% said Sauber

The Sauber C32, with its tightly sculpted sidepods and new-look livery, was named the best-looking car of the year.

Which team has the best driver line-up for 2013?

37% said Mercedes

Most teams have changed their driver line-ups for 2014 but one which will stay the same is the one F1 Fanatic readers reckoned would be the strongest this year: Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at Mercedes.

Red Bull were next, 27% choosing Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber as the strongest driver pairing.

Who will win the battle of the team mates?

Red Bull89% backed VettelVettel scored almost twice Webber’s tally
Ferrari94% backed AlonsoAlonso scored more than twice Massa’s tally
McLaren80% backed ButtonButton had a narrow win over Perez
Lotus91% backed RaikkonenRaikkonen came out on top but Grosjean was ahead after the summer break
Mercedes79% backed HamiltonHamilton was slightly ahead
Sauber95% backed HulkenbergHulkenberg scored almost all of Sauber’s points
Force India51% backed SutilDi Resta was slightly ahead
Williams50-50 splitBottas scored Williams best qualifying and race result
Toro Rosso65% backed RicciardoRicciardo came out ahead and got the coveted Red Bull seat
Caterham84% backed PicPic was slightly ahead
Marussia87% backed BianchiBianchi was emphatically ahead

Were Red Bull and Mercedes right to use team orders?

72% said Mercedes were wrong to use team orders in Malaysia, 49% said Red Bull were right to

In the closing stages of the Malaysian Grand Prix Red Bull were running first and second, Mercedes third and fourth. Both ordered their drivers to hold position – with differing results.

Nico Rosberg did as he was told, though he left his team in no doubt he could have passed Lewis Hamilton had he chose to.

Sebastian Vettel, however, took matters into his own hands, passing Mark Webber to win the race.

There was a revealing difference in how fans viewed the two orders. A clear majority opposed Mercedes calling off the battle between their drivers. But a narrow minority (49% to 46%) approved of Red Bull’s unsuccessful attempt to keep Vettel behind Webber.

DRS and tyres: Has F1 got the balance right?

54% said DRS is having a negative effect, 47% said the tyres were having a negative effect

Polls on F1 Fanatic have consistently revealed scepticism about the effect DRS has had on racing. However the ‘designed to degrade’ tyres, used since 2011, are increasingly a cause for concern as well – and this poll was conducted before the infamous Silverstone failures.

Is the FIA’s test ban for Mercedes a fair penalty?

73% said it was too soft

Mercedes were forbidden from participating in the Young Drivers’ Test when the FIA decided they had broken the rules by running a 2013 chassis in a tyre test for Pirelli in May.

Should Mercedes be allowed to participate in the Young Drivers’ Test?

69% said “no”

After the British Grand Prix, in which many drivers suffered high-speed tyre failures, the decision was taken to change the tyres on safety grounds. The new rubber was given its first trial at the Young Drivers’ Test, but Mercedes were still not permitted to attend.

Who should Lotus hire to replace Raikkonen?

65% said Nico Hulkenberg

Kimi Raikkonen’s return to Ferrari left Lotus with a difficult choice of who to replace him with. The question of who would join Romain Grosjean at the team in 2014 threw light on one of the themes of the year: the growing financial pressure on the teams, even those who were in contention for race victories.

The fans’ preference to see the drive go to midfield hero Hulkenberg might have been realised had Lotus successfully attracted new investment. But as their attempt to secure funding from Quantum suffered repeated delays, Hulkenberg was passed over in favour of Pastor Maldonado and his PDVSA backing – something just 2% wanted to see.

Should F1 drivers be forced to make two pit stops?

89% said “no”

The short-lived proposal to require drivers to make at least two pit stops per race from 2014 was overwhelmingly opposed by fans who largely viewed it as another unwelcome and artificial addition to the regulations.

Thankfully it was scrapped, but relief at the decision to nix this unpopular plan was overshadowed by the emergence of another hare-brained idea which has proved even less popular…

Should double points be awarded at the season finale?

91% said “no”

A new rule giving double points at the last race of the season is still in the sporting regulations for next year, despite having proved enormously unpopular.

2013 F1 season review

Browse all 2013 F1 season review articles

Images © Sauber, Red Bull/Getty

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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52 comments on “Your verdict on 2013: The season in polls”

  1. I don’t understand how people can condemn Mercedes using team orders and justify Red Bull doing it. It makes no sense. Double standards at its finest.

    1. Mercedes should have used teamorders the other way around. Let Nico pass Ham and hope one of the RB gets in real trouble with his tyres. RB on the other hand didn’t need a fight on track as their tyres were going off faster than other cars. Therefore cruising to the finish was the best they could do as the lead they had was fine. At this stage RB didn’t care for a 1-2 or 2-1. 43 points were in the bag.

      1. And there was nothing to gain for RB aswell.

      2. @ardenflo

        RB on the other hand didn’t need a fight on track as their tyres were going off faster than other cars.

        I think Mercedes were stupid, they should have let Rosberg take care of Hamilton on his own and got on with his race, but at least they could control their drivers.
        Red Bull on the other hand, no matter how much I sympathise with them as a team, were completely blind to the reality.
        When their effective 2nd driver had previously been completely impossible for them to control when it came to team orders, how on earth could they lead themselves to believe that Vettel, the reigning triple world champion, would accept not racing for the victory.
        There is a reason he, at the time, was a triple world champion. How they could forget that, is completely beyond me.

        1. Sorry for the quote, which is completely unrelated to the rest of my post..

    2. I disagree with you. There was a chance that when Nico got through he would catch the redbulls, who would have been better off with Vettel in the lead since his car was fresher (not to mention he’s faster). So it wasn’t very prudent or sporting to artificially keep Vettel behind Webber when if he could get ahead, he could manage the race and Nico’s threat better.

    3. It’s actually pretty simple. You see tons of people trying to rewrite history for them to justify this double standard. In the story that they have made up, no matter how utterly wrong and incorrect it is, it makes sense.

    4. The article says that 51% said it was WRONG for redbull, it’s different quantity but still majority

      1. The article refers to “a narrow minority”, which is correct as neither the “correct” nor “incorrect” options got a majority of the vote.

    5. David not Coulthard (@)
      29th December 2013, 4:58

      Well, I thought Vettel had a disadvantage over Webber when he did the overtake (i.e. I thought the fact that Mark was told to slow down, instead of Sebastian doing a Prost, was what happened leading up to the duel).

      I guess I should’ve at least wathed a highlight before commenting instead of blindly making a choice on a race I had missed (apart from following the Live Timing) :(.

      1. While I get the concept of a ‘true WDC’ showing that he is one by ignoring team orders, in this case it was petty of SV because he was passing a sitting duck, MW having been instructed to turn his car down for conservation. And he didn’t own his decision and rather looked the fool on the podium and wouldn’t even look at MW while MW glared at him. Those are not the signs of a true WDC, but of a spoiled child who decided to thank his team for 3 WDCs and another great car by giving them the finger and putting them all in a very uncomfortable situation.

        What I liked that resulted from this is that there was no question that there would be racing between the two driver’s at RBR for the rest of the season, but I certainly did not gain respect for SV through this action. I already knew he was a WDC so he didn’t need to prove it, and perhaps if he had forcefully owned his decision from the get go rather than looking like a kid in trouble, I would have understood a little better ‘the man’.

  2. 10/11 in the team-mate battle. Had Rosberg been a bit more lucky, I would have got 11/11.

    1. Unfortunately what ifs never won anyone anything. Hamilton beat him fair an square.

  3. I take it that there is still no news from Quantum. Not that I really expect there to be.

  4. 72% said Mercedes were wrong to use team orders in Malaysia, 49% said Red Bull were right to

    The biggest case of hypocrisy this year.

    1. Well the only thing you can say is if Webber had pushed earlier he might have had tyre trouble and fallen back to the Mercedes drivers, this seems unlikely though. I voted ‘no’ on both anyway.

      1. @george in that case, Red Bull should’ve just led Seb go free (like he requested earlier). He was clearly faster.

        1. @vettel1 Quite, but they were probably more worried about the PR and internal political problems of doing that. Considering the ruckus created when Vettel ignored team orders to stay behind Webber, how do you think the public and Webber himself would react if he was ordered to let Vettel by? Maintaining the status quo was the best option available to them to achieve a 1-2 finish while making the least trouble for themselves off-track.

          1. Hm, reading that through I realise it’s written with some hindsight, however I do think fairness to Webber and keeping him on-side for the rest of the season probably had an influence on their decision.

    2. Each team was in a different situation, and whether team orders are justified depends heavily on the situation. What did we see when Vettel attacked Webber? A fight close enough that the team would have been terrified of losing both cars (as they have form in, regardless of it being so long ago). I don’t particularly blame Red Bull for using team orders. On the other hand, Mercedes could have potentially improved had Rosberg gotten past Hamilton and chased the Red Bulls. I’m not sure whether their team orders were justified because I can’t remember the times, and therefore the likelihood of Rosberg succeeding in this. Perhaps team orders were actually also justified, but they used the wrong ones (i.e. tell Hamilton to allow Rosberg through instead of telling Rosberg to hold station).

      For the sake of racing I think most would prefer no team orders at all, but that wasn’t the question. The question was whether the teams, given their positions and chances, were correct (for themselves) in giving them.

    3. @vettel1 No. More like, your opinion here is the biggest case of intentionally simplistic view for the benefit of your fav. driver

      1. @montreal95 and explain how the situations were so different that there is a 21% disparity in the results?

        I can’t see it: the concern in both cases I believe was tyre wear and preventing any collisions. In both cases, the teams had one driver having to conserve more fuel than the other. And in both cases, the trailing driver was clearly faster.

        Also, in both teams there were two very good drivers who were unlikely to collide with each other. So explain again, why the 21% disparity?

        1. Also, in both teams there were two very good drivers who were unlikely to collide with each other.

          And yet Vettel and Webber got exceedingly close.

          1. @matt90 they didn’t touch though. Vettel has said he learned his lesson from Turkey 2010, and I fully believe him.

          2. I know they didn’t touch, but considering how close they got, particularly to the pit wall (that part was highly dangerous and seemingly overlooked at the time in the wake of the multi 21 controversy), I would say that ‘unlikely to collide with each other’ doesn’t ring at all true. No matter how clean and capable 2 drivers are, if they’re pushing that hard then accidents may happen. If people had passed off Schumacher’s infamous pit wall squeeze on Barrichello as ‘they were never going to actually crash’, they would have been laughed at.

          3. @matt90 true, but there was always a car’s width in this case which was very nearly not the case in the Barichello incident. What was more dangerous was Webber’s antics after the chequered flag, where he cut right across Vettel. That was indeed dangerous.

            However, I still think both drivers have each other enough space – Vettel gave Webber enough in T2 (allowing him to get back through) and Webber gave Vettel enough in T4 (allowing him to pass). It was good, fair racing IMO.

          4. It was indeed good fair racing (the pit wall bit aside), but that doesn’t mean the potential wasn’t there for it to all go disastrously wrong.

    4. Why is it hypocrisy to see the differences in these cases @vettel1?
      I too see there are many differences in the situations, and therefore its understandable that people judge both differently. Not everyone is against team orders in general, and judges them based on what probably motivated the team.

      Red Bull was still worried about their tyre management, and probably about fuel levels, and they were with sitting in a situation where they had their first 1-2 of the year on their hands. Not to mention that I can fully understand when the team was reluctant to let their drivers race, given the accidents in the past. That the drivers in the end showed that both have learned from Turkey and won’t let their ambitions ruin things and be careful was one of the positive outcomes of this, and it made for a better season afterwards.

      As for Mercedes – In my view it would have made more sense to let Rosberg pass Hamilton and see if he could push the Red Bulls up front. Now they appeased Hamilton, and they showed a lack of confidence in their car being up to a better result – a bit like Sauber telling Perez to back off a bit a year earlier, they budged to take the gamble at a better result, instead wanting to conserve a very good result.

      1. I see no significant difference between the two instances themselves: both had parallels in that the leading driver was lower on fuel, tyre wear was supposedly marginal and the trailing driver was clearly faster.

        What I do see a difference in is that one team order was disobeyed and one obeyed, and the person that disobeyed that order was Sebastian Vettel @bascb.

        1. The biggest difference is that Mercedes might have had something to win from giving one of their drivers the chance to attack the 2 cars ahead, while Red Bull could only lose from the position where they were @vettel1, that is a big difference, and one of the reasons why Keith made 2 polls out of it.

          My personal opinion is that in both cases (or rather in ALL such cases) team orders are wrong, but you overly simplify when you say both were in the same situation and denounce everyone voting differently for each of these team orders.

  5. @keith collantine I feel VDG had edge over pic in caterham team battle as he was better in qualifying and and also in races at latter part of the season. Though he had done a few mistakes but being a rookie I guess he should be given a slight let off when being compared to a senior team mate.

    1. I’d hardly call Pic a senior. In the end, it’s based on best results and the championship standings, not on who ‘did better all things considered’.

  6. Whatever my own views are, I think this is a commendable article that shows the power of the crowd (and also the most relevant questions to 2013, laid out brilliantly). As it happens, I do agree with pretty much all of the results.

  7. Totally concur with those who see hypocrisy in accepting team orders for one team but not for the other.

    One thing many don’t talk about in terms of motivation by Vettel is that he just won the 2012 WDC by the narrowest of margins. The difference of 7 points between P1 and P2 could have been the difference between winning or losing the championship in 2013. What really separates Vettel and Alonso from the other contenders (Kimi as well), is that they really understand the importance of maximizing their points at every single race. You see it in how they drive and finish races, regardless of where they start on the grid.

    A couple of other interesting things came out of Malaysia that doesn’t get mentioned a lot either:

    1. Many felt that Vettel stabbed himself in the foot by alienating Webber and that he could end up ruining his chances for the WDC. The “Vettel may need Webber’s help, but he won’t get it” meme. Never came close to happening.

    2. Rosberg’s reaction to the team order. Either follow the team order or don’t, but he was incredibly immature in “demonstrating” that he was faster than Lewis (even when Brawn came on and told him to back off). Then his quip to the effect of “remember this”. It’s in the same category of quips that Webber’s “not bad for a number 2” was. It sounds all puffed up, but a real number 1 driver doesn’t make those quips. Rosberg became a number 2 driver at that moment. As did Webber. (or more likely they already were, but those actions/quips gave the insight into the psychology/mindset of where they are.)

    1. What really separates Vettel and Alonso from the other contenders (Kimi as well), is that they really understand the importance of maximizing their points at every single race.

      Wait, what? Vettel understands nada about maximizing points. Almost every single race he risks all for the sake of fastest laps with no other value than glory.

      1. @losd – Understands it or not, Vettel maximises his points anyway.

        1. Yep, but that doesn’t make his statement true.

    2. Personally I wish neither team had used team orders in the first race of the season, but since two did, I think we can blame the tires for that.

      I don’t think only SV and FA and KR know to maximize points from the very start of the season. All drivers do and I’m sure RBR already knew that when they ordered SV to stand pat.

      Also, if one is to consider SV a number 1 because he ignored the team order, then he also should not need MW’s help, so I certainly wouldn’t have been one of the ones to argue that SV shot himself in the foot by ignoring the team order.

      I was not ‘impressed’ that SV ignored the order, like some have opined a true WDC should, because he didn’t own it…he looked uncomfortable, embarrassed, and sheepish, and only much later claimed he would do it again.

      As to NR’s suggested ‘pettiness’ at making his point about being faster, I think it is just as easy to argue he was showing team work, while also showing that he is not going to take this sitting down. It certainly didn’t condemn him to being a number 2 on the team and he went on to have some good successes in 2013 and taking away the unreliability issues of both drivers you could throw a blanket over them, they were that close.

  8. “Narrow win” over Perez for Button? Button beat him by 50% of his own points. How the heck does that define as “narrow”? smh Going by this definition than Vettel only beat Webber “narrowly” in 2012..

    1. “his”. I mean Perez’s.

    2. @lexblair You would be right if points were the one and all criteria. For that we don’t need anything but the championship table. However, you’re wrong. In a midfield team especially points simply cannot be the only deciding factor. All with eyes on their head could see that Button was ahead of Perez this year but only slightly. There’s also qualifying to take into account and various factors beside.

      And for the record, Vettel did beat Webber narrowly in 2012. Remember that 60% into the season Webber was ahead on points and P2 in the WDC. And the qualy score was 11-9. A very definition of a narrow win in my book.

      1. @montreal95

        Remember that 60% into the season Webber was ahead on points and P2 in the WDC. And the qualy score was 11-9.

        The qualifying score was indeed very narrow, but on other criteria, Vettel won 5-2 on wins, 6-2 on poles, and 102 points/5 championship positions ahead. Nowhere near as emphatic overall as 2011 or 2013, but hardly narrow. Also the amount of time you are ahead isn’t particularly relevant, if the tables turn so drastically.

        1. @david-a

          Poles: isn’t very relevant as intra-team comparison as they’re also the result of the team overall competitiveness. First half of the season, before RBR managed to return the blown diffuser Webber was generally the better driver in qualy. However, poles were difficult to come by. Seb managed 2, Webber 1 during that time, so it’s a mirror of the overall qualy stats

          Wins: ditto. Seb managed 4 in a row at the tail end of the season. Before that it was 2-1 to Webber. Agaiin it’s a testament to Seb’s adaptability(or Mark’s lack of) with the blown diffuser concept which made the car much faster but hardly relevant in terms of the intra-team battle over a season

          102 points/5 positions: Seb made a 118 points turnaround in the second half of the season which for MW included gearbox penalty in Germany, KERS failure in Hungary, gearbox penalty at Spa, Grosjean at Japan, Kers problems in the race in Singapore, Perez in Abu Dhabi, alternator DNF in USA. Not saying MW would’ve beat SV to the title if not for those but the gap is hugely misleading if we want to analyze the performance behind the results. Otherwise let’s just stick to the WDC table as the poster above suggests and all those discussions are meaningless

          It’s the same theme as this year Force India intra-team battle. By looking at the points table it may seem that PdR thrashed SUT. But in fact, as Keith writes above he narrowly beat him. and the reason for the exaggerated gap is that SUT had the bulk of his misfortune in the first half of 2013 when FI was much more competitive

          1. @montreal95

            Seb made a 118 points turnaround in the second half of the season which for MW included gearbox penalty in Germany, KERS failure in Hungary, gearbox penalty at Spa, Grosjean at Japan, Kers problems in the race in Singapore, Perez in Abu Dhabi, alternator DNF in USA.

            So, wait a minute, when Webber loses out it’s because of his failures but when Vettel similarly suffers bad luck in the first half of the season it is by virtue of Webber’s skill in a non-EBD car?

            Yeah, right.

  9. Actually, di Resta was a fair amount ahead of Sutil – it wasn’t that close.

  10. Hulkenberg’s votes are very strange, but were true.

  11. David not Coulthard (@)
    29th December 2013, 5:14

    I’m jut wondering, if I change my Malaysia vote (wrong for RBR, right for Merc to wrong for both), would that change the percentage?

    1. @davidnotcoulthard
      737 votes for Merc poll:
      Original Breakdown
      Yes: 176.88 (24%)
      No: 530.64 (72%)
      No Opinion: 29.48 (4%)

      Your Vote Change:
      Yes: 175.88 (24%)
      No: 531.64 (72%)
      No Opinion: 29.48 (4%)

      So the answer to your original question, no.

  12. I love this review piece @keithcollantine It gives people a chance to reflect upon how they may have voted earlier in the year, given that tensions and emotions have dissipated for some of those polls. Next year, I hope people can see how emotions affect their voting and sometimes, in the heat of the moment, we all see the world through rose coloured glasses. I know that I have been guilty of this myself, especially when it came to the Merc Testing “Scandal”. Although I maintain that if Merc did win the season, that moment would have come back to haunt them.

  13. I got the Pic wrong and I thought that even though Riccardo is my preferred man as in the previous year Vergne would score better, the rest i’m very proud I got right.

    1. I was only wrong on Williams – I was expecting Maldonado’s experience and some of his ferocious speed to shine through but alas I was wrong.

      10/11 ain’t bad though, and congratulations to yourself also! ;)

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